Best photo opportunity on a bus tour tips


You’re on a coach tour in Paris with 50 other people and the tour guide tells everyone coming ahead is the Arch of Triumph and the driver will drive around it for you to take a photo.

Yes! Finally a photo opportunity!  You think the coach is perfect!  It’s nice and high, we’re from a certain distant where we can capture the whole monument AND you get a 360 degree view!!  Yes. This. Is. AWESOME!!

You get your camera ready and omg omg omg THE ARCH OF TRIUMPH! OMG IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!

And then this happens..

@&*^!%@

You curse at everyone and everything!  You want that picture perfect because you don’t even know if you’ll even have time to revisit it on this tight scheduled tour!  Life sucks.

Factors that made this picture ugly!

  • You sat furthest away from the monument
  • People got in your shot
  • Seat heads also got in the shot
  • The window frame TOTALLY got in the way
  • You had to wear a seat belt so you weren’t free to stand up! (safety first!!)

Yes, that is my own picture.  I was on a 20 day European Experience Contiki tour.  This was day 1 of the tour.

I’ve been on many coach tours but Contiki was the biggest I’ve been on.  There were 51 people on board that coach!  Taking good photos is very manageable.  I was lucky enough to have a good tour guide named Josh who does tell us which side to sit on for best photo opportunities!  But I have a few tips of my own.

Determine where to sit

Well it really depends what what kind of coach you get (and model).  Sometimes you get the big one and sometimes the small one.  Totally different.  Trust me.

First you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you get motion sick easily?
    • If so, sit at the front.
  • Do you care if you sit with your friend/s or not?
    • If not, each sit on a different side from one another.
  • Is your priority more about sitting near the toilet?
    • Oh alright, sit near the toilet and on the aisle.
  • Is being social your priority?
    • The back seat chatter-box!
  • Do you care about what the tour guide says?
    • Sit near the tour guide (it’s usually the front).
  • Do you like to sleep on the bus?
    • Bring a neck rest/cushion and sit on the window side.
  • Do you like leg space?
    • Avoid sitting in front of a board.  Usually the very front or/and in front of the middle door steps.

There’s many questions you could ask yourself but what I’m really asking is, ‘What is your main priority?

If it’s getting the best shots as possible?  Read on*.

Best advice is to ask your Tour Guide (in secret if you want to be selfish) which side is best to sit with the most views and whether he/she can notify you in advance of upcoming sites.  Also, if things don’t work out you could always ask someone to help take the photo for you on the other-side.  Don’t worry about tinted windows.  They’re pretty harmless to your picture.

Best Seat: The front seat aisle seat not infront of the driver is the best because you get the large window in front, you’re not far from the window closest to you and because you are sitting on an aisle you can quickly get up to get closer to the other-side.   You can also stick your legs out to the side for leg room.

Contiki coach (big)

This is one huge ass mama.  If you can’t get to the front, that’s ok.  Be an all-rounder! Sit in the middle opposite the middle door on the aisle with my friend on the window.  This is my golden seat with on Contiki because not only am I near one window – the opposite window there’s a huge window and no one can sit there!! PERFECT.  Bonus is I’m also near the toilet and the exit :-D!  I don’t like the front because of leg space and I let the motion sick people sit there.

Busabout (small)

Tricky one.  The one I was on was old, small and had only 1 exit and no toilet.  I still prefer the aisle seat where I can see the front window, the back and the sides.  Otherwise, if I wanted to sit on a window-side I’d sit on the side where the bus is traveling.  So if it’s on the left side of the road, I’d sit on the left.  If it’s on the right, I’d sit on the right.  This is because I love cliffs and mountains and usually like to be on the edge if we’re on one 🙂  Besides that, it’s a tricky one.  All I can say is use your own judgment.

Site-seeing bus (open roof)

I love these kind of bus (only on good days).  You pretty much can sit anywhere.  Just make sure you can see everything and if there’s a big fella blocking your way.  Sit somewhere where the short people are (if possible).

Public Transport (double decker)

No doubt about it,  top deck at the front.  I’ve seen some amazing buildings from the big front wide window!!

Public Transport (standard single decker)

The front or standing next to a window (if all seats are taken).  That can be the exit door or the disable area.

Anyway, that’s most of my tips I can give you.  I wish you all the very best with your travel seating arrangements and photography!

* Note:  This only my opinion from my experiences.  Please feel free to tell us your tips by leaving a comment! 🙂

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